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Dan Straily battles hard on short notice start in Astros' 4-3 loss to Rangers

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Dan Straily's Tuesday began at 3:30 a.m. in Fresno, California

It ended some 16 hours later after 4 2/3 innings of a short-notice start in his return to the major leagues.

Straily (0-1), recalled to bail out a beleaguered Houston Astros pitching staff, held the Texas Rangers scoreless for three innings.

But Prince Fielder led off the fourth with a home run off the facing of the upper deck in right field, and Texas added three runs in the fifth to defeat the Astros 4-3.

"Throughout the day I was really focused on the task at hand," Straily said, "but now that it's all over with I'm pretty tired right now. I'm ready to go lay down."

He was pitching with just three days' rest for the first time in his 45 major league starts. Anticipating a Thursday start for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, he had thrown a bullpen session on Monday before being notified that he was needed by the Astros.

Mike Fiers had been scheduled to start Tuesday's game for Houston, but he pitched five relief innings in a 12-9 loss to the Rangers on Monday.

Straily said, "I felt like I could go out there and compete. I was trying to give us six strong innings and I wasn't able to get that done. I left the game with us still right there within striking distance."

A second-inning single by Luis Valbuena and Carlos Gomez's third-inning double provided Straily with a 2-0 lead.

The Astros trailed just 3-2 when Straily left the game, but Josh Hamilton singled against reliever Tony Sipp to cap Texas' three-run fifth.

"I thought (Straily) had a pretty good changeup and a pretty good slider," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I thought he battled pretty hard. He was a few pitches away from getting out of the fifth."

After Gomez led off the sixth with a home run against Yovani Gallardo (8-9) and Texas' bullpen shut down the Astros.

PHOTO: Houston Astros starting pitcher Dan Straily talks with pitching coach Brent Strom, center, as catcher Jason Castro listens in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Houston Astros starting pitcher Dan Straily talks with pitching coach Brent Strom, center, as catcher Jason Castro listens in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Sam Freeman allowed a single and a walk to load the bases with one out in the sixth. He then retired Valbuena and Marwin Gonzalez.

Shawn Tolleson earned his 20th save, all since May 20, despite giving up a walk and Valbuena's second single before recording an out in the ninth. Jason Castro and Jose Altuve struck out for the final two outs.

Hinch said, "The ninth, that was a great opportunity. Tolleson has been pitching a lot lately, so we had him on the ropes."

WHO'S ON FIRST

Gonzalez started at first base for the second time in three games. Valbuena had started Monday. Carter's 84 starts are the most for the Astros this season. Hinch said, "Right now, it's coming down to who gives us the best chance to post some offensive numbers." Gonzalez entered the game with a .308 average against Gallardo. Carter had struck out in all three at-bats vs. Texas' starter.

NO. 1 AND NO. 100

Gomez's homer was his first since being traded to the Astros on July 30, and the 100th of his career. He has the ball, and said, "I'll show my kids. I'm shooting for 100 more right now."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: Gomez stayed on the infield dirt after diving into second base on a third-inning pickoff attempt. Manager A.J. Hinch and a trainer went on the field, but Gomez stayed in the game and homered on his next at-bat.

Rangers: LHP Derek Holland (strained shoulder) made his second injury-rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock. After pitching two scoreless innings, he allowed all four batters in the third to reach base. Holland gave up two runs, one earned and threw 35 strikes in 55 pitches.

UP NEXT

Astros: In Wednesday's final game of the three-game series, LHP Scott Kazmir will try to continue last month's success. He allowed only one earned run in 34 innings for an 0.26 ERA, the third-lowest July mark in history.

Rangers: RHP Nick Martinez is scheduled to start on his 25th birthday. He is 2-1, 1.80 in five career starts vs. Houston, all last season.

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